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Ode On An Artificial Turf

Visiting CitiField

I’ll always remember the cold.  

In your first team in little league, watching you in the outfield, freezing but refusing to run in place or do jumping jacks because you were too embarrassed to do them.  Then your little sister in the stands, also freezing, and not wanting to wear my jacket because it didn’t look cool or clashed with her clothes.  But the cold definitely has left an impression on me.  

On a field of dirt and grass, you spent most of your childhood.  

On a field of green, you went from a skinny little twig to a grown young woman. You allowed me to live my dreams that I never was able to achieve.  That’s what you will realize when one day you have children also: you live through them.  And that can be okay so long as you do it in a healthy way.  

You’re about to head to college and although I am confident I am ready, I am also confident that I could be completely wrong.  This, then, is my attempt to reminisce on the past eighteen years and celebrate them as we get ready to close this chapter and start an exciting new one.

Do you remember what your favorite movie was?  “Sippy man, sippy man.”  You’d ask to see that on the way to school.  Spiderman Man 1.  I rigged my PSP (look it up) and it was a ridiculous process to convert files and then copy them onto a memory card.  Then I velcro’d the PSP to the back headrest so you could watch it.  Then when we would get home it was Elmo in Grouchland.  

I once watched a movie, The Transporter, and it was just an average action movie with a ridiculous, typical story line: anti-hero saves the pretty girl.  But I believe that there’s something valuable that you can derive from anything – including a bad movie.  In the movie, the protagonist was a driver for a rich family.  To keep the kids busy, he would play games with them as he drove them home.  That’s where I got the idea of playing guess who games as soon as you started talking.  He’s a bad guy, wears green…”JOKER”.  My secret ploy was to have you develop your thinking skills. 

I wanted you to be a real life Bruce Wayne!  So to that end, we played every sport, solved puzzles, did wrestling, learned chess, pool, swimming, driving on ps4, etc, etc.  And I won’t mention your anime phase… 

Sometimes I feel like I was crazy in introducing you to my favorite sport.  I have no idea how tough it is to do something where you are continually the one person who isn’t like the others.  I have no idea how many moments of self-doubt you’ve had.  I just never saw a reason to have you stop doing it, so long as you enjoyed it.  

I knew you had talent though.  I’ve always believed in you and you still managed to exceed my expectations of what’s possible.  

It’s difficult for us parents to accept the fact that our kids grow up.  When you’re sat next to me in the car, all I see is the little girl that I used to grab her chin and you’d fight me about it.  But whether we like to accept it or not, we have to recognize that you have to become your own person.  

As I write this and try to sound very profound, I’m thinking of what advise I should impart you with as you leave home for the first time.  I think what I want you to know most is that I trust that you will be good in anything you choose to do.  Anything you choose to do in life will be wonderful because all the things that you’ve made it possible for me to be a part of have exceeded any dreams or expectations I ever could have.  

In my little town where I grew up, my best friend Lala was illiterate because his family couldn’t afford to send him to school.  I was lucky that my Mom had family abroad that could pay for my school uniform and books.  So to sit here today, having grown up in a crazy neighborhood, not having been prepared for college at all and somehow making it, to having you attending one of the best universities in the world, I’m truly at a loss for words.

The one thing I wanted you to implicitly learn over the last eighteen years is that life can be very short, fleeting, full of the unexpected.  So if you don’t take the time to enjoy it any chance you get, you might find yourself waiting to achieve the next goal in order to feel happy but never quite getting there because there will always be something else to accomplish.  So enjoy the moment.  Enjoy the struggle.  Revel in it.  

And most of all, trust yourself because the journey is a lot more important than the destination.  And like my favorite playwright wrote:

All the world’s a stage.  

And if that’s true, we are all actors then.  That being the case, shine on and have fun playing your part.  

Can’t wait to see what’s to come on your second act!  追いかける!

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